t could be considered the most daunting purchase you’ll make in a new home. Sofa shopping is no easy task.
Researchers have found that on average, we sit on the sofa for 16 hours a week. You most likely have many meals there, eaten off your lap, eyes glued to the box. It’s also a good spot for a nap, or a makeshift bed when unexpected guests ring around. If you haven’t quite finessed your at-home work set-up, your settee may even be the place where you spend the majority of your 9-5 (terrible for your posture, find decent home desks and office chairs here).
So it’s fair to say that any sofa worthy of your consideration must be, above all, comfortable. It also has to be durable for those accidental stains and spillages. The fabric, shape and style also come into play for the divisive decision.
Leather or velvet? Two or three seater? Left or right side facing L-shape? Upholstered? What style of feet? Neutral hues, or bright and bold? There’s certainly a lot to consider – but first off is the cost. Knowing how much you have to spend will narrow the vast selection on offer considerably. The hub of your home, a settee is an investment item so it may be worth splashing out on a model that will stand the test of time and the frequency of use.
Renting or buying your dream home, a sofa makes the place your own but it’s surprisingly difficult to get right. By simply replacing your existing model or starting afresh, you can completely transform your space and head in an entirely new design aesthetic. The average settee is only designed to last between seven to 15 years before it will start to lose its shape, sag or become lumpy.
When shopping online for your living room perch, sofa-in-a-box company Swyft stresses these five things to consider:
- Choose the right filling – Feathers can get lumpy and need regular fluffing. Plus, they can give sensitive pals the sneezes. Foam sofas are very low maintenance. They both hold their shape really well, whilst being super comfortable and have more of what we’re calling the sinkability factor.
- Stay stain free –The fabric of your new sofa is like its armour, and if it’s not strong enough to protect what’s underneath, it can be an expensive fix. Always check if the fabrics have been stain treated to add maximum peace of mind around clumsy friends. A well-treated fabric will allow spills to just run off, and be blotted up without fuss or residual marks.
- Look out for a ‘high rub count’ – If you’re expecting lots of guests this year, always choose fabrics with a high rub count to ensure durability.
- Check the frame – The bones of your sofa need to stand the test of time, from movie nights to unexpected sleepovers, 2021 is going to be the year for it. To ensure you’ve got the best frame, look out for FSC certified hardwood. Avoid metal or particle board as these can be easily damaged and are unlikely to last as long.
- Watch out for inconvenient delivery and return times – Keep an eye out for long delivery times and if the sofa you choose doesn’t quite fit the bill, check that the company has a decent returns policy before you ‘add to basket’.
Below we’ve gathered our favourite sofa brands on the market. We’ve chosen them based on the design-led aesthetics, the sumptuous materials on offer and the ability for customisation. There are even options that come in a box for ease in delivery.
Just make sure you check down the back of your old sofa before your throw it away. According to a study by Distinctive Chesterfield, British households lose £155 million in loose change down the back of their old model (that’s £5.77 per household per year) – that’s a nice chunk of change that can contribute to a brand new sofa.
Love Your Home
Price: From £1,330
We were first introduced to Love Your Home through Instagram as the brand was continually tagged in posts of sofas that had caught our eye.
Since its inception in 2008, the family-run furniture label has offered design-led products at affordable price tags that are meticulously crafted in order to complement your space. The frames are made from sustainably-produced beechwood that is not only robust but kinder to the planet, while the fabrics are sourced from European mills with stain-resistant constructions.
The sofa collection is composed of contemporary designs with a timelessness to see you through without the wares and tears that you may come to expect of a settees with extensive use. There’s a huge range of fabrics, leathers and colours so you can find the one to best suit and they are often able to match an armchair in the same style.
Choose from the corner, loose cover, chaise longue or upholstered designs as well as the option for a sofa bed included. There are chair legs in an array of wood from oak to walnut and stains from white to natural.
Honourable mention goes to the Sophie Chaise Corner Sofa Bed with secret built-in storage and skinny arms to maximise seating space, the Harper Modern Chaise Corner Sofa with contrast colour piping and the Bloomsbury Sofa for those who are averse to plumping cushions.
Price: From £699
From the beds to the storage options, Swoon should be on your radar for its extensive selection of furnishings that are anything but ordinary. The plush design-led label takes inspiration from the world – be it a shape of a building or texture of a wall – to craft the pieces where the utmost attention is paid to every detail.
There are over 60 designs in over 50 fabrics to choose frm, so you can create a truly bespoke model at Swoon. Start easy with the size; a love seat, two, three, four, five or corner sofa. Next, style. This is entirely a matter of personal preference and can help you set the tone for your space – whether you prefer a laidback look, country chic, plush opulence, Scandi minimalism, contemporary or mid-century.
When it comes to the fabric, there’s wool iterations that make for a durable, tactile piece and while it is not traditionally the cosiest, there’s a soft wool that makes it more so, while still remaining natural and breathable. Leather is always a smart option for durability and easy-clean benefits, or you could throw caution to the wind and go for sumptuous velvet for that ultra-luxe feel. There’s also a linen-like house weave and velvety cord. Can’t decide? Order swatches for free.
The majority of the settees are made in the UK, which neatly side-steps shipping delays.
Darlings of Chelsea
Price: From £2,793
Much like the namesake London-based area, Darlings of Chelsea is renowned for its upmarket, luxury sofas. The brand specialises in the cosy seating as well as beds, mattresses, chairs and footstools. Quality is placed at the forefront.
The sofas are handcrafted with corner and built-in beds on offer so there’s something to suit the whole family and guests at a moment’s notice. From classic to contemporary, there’s an extensive array of styles that you can swathe in the house textiles as well as designer fabrics from the likes of Ralph Lauren, Linwood and Designers Guild.
For the leather models, you will see Chesterfield, highback, recliner, classic or Italian-inspired designs. The leather is 100 per cent genuine where you can opt for distressed, natural, semi-protected or protected to give your room an understated elegance. Colour-wise, there’s classic brown hues as well as cream and white.
These are settees that have been built to last from the outset where the team of skilled craftspeople use only the finest materials.
Price: From £499
For this sofa label, the clue is in the name. The brand specialises in sofas plain and simple and puts comfort before all else. The purse-friendly price tags don’t hurt either.
If you’re looking for a settee to arrive more speedily than the delivery times traditionally associated with these large furniture items, Sofology is a great place to start. They have an entire range devoted to quick arrivals that includes many of the popular models that can be put in pride of place in just two weeks.
So now all you need to decide is – fabric or leather? Corner, sofa bed or recliner for the utmost comfort? Shop by colour – grey, pink, green, blue, orange, cream, red and brown – or size – footstools, chairs, two, three or four seaters. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
Price: From £1,245
Loaf is best-known and beloved for its rainbow offering of pastel shades sure to inject a pop of colour into your interiors in a subtle and stylish way so even the minimalists among you can enjoy mood-boosting furniture.
The models are handmade by craftspeople using traditional techniques where comfort is placed front and centre with the deep, down and cloud-like cushions.
In terms of shapes, there’s corner, sofa beds, chaise sofas and modular models. For the latter, you can add the elements of your choosing and entirely customise it to suit your living space. It also means that if you have a compact flat right now but later move to a place with a much larger area, you don’t need an entirely new sofa, you can just purchase the middle modules. Win-win.
To simplify the selection process, Loaf’s website has a handy filter where you can sort by type, size, dimensions, seat (upright, deep or super deep) as well as style and fabric. For the latter, the colour selection is up there with the best and you can even select to have entirely natural, up the softness levels, go for super durable or put stain resistance as a priority. You can also choose from velvet, cord, linen, bamboo, cotton, wool or leather with many varieties of each.
If the price is too steep for your budget, check out the brand’s bargain sofas where you’ll find ex-display or ones with odd bumps – if this is the case, there’s photos to show you exactly what these flaws may be. There are also those classic sale items that are in ‘perfect nick’.
Sofas & Stuff
Price: From £1,499
Kick off your shoes, pour a drink and relax into a bespoke piece from Sofa & Stuff. The ‘stuff’ plays second fiddle to the specialist of the label which is of course, sofas. The family-run label has been passed down three generations and is the place where you can craft the piece of your dreams, determining everything from the shape to the fabric – no matter how off-wall it may seem.
There are sofas, snugglers, corners, chairse, chairs, footstools and sofa beds that begin as a blank canvas. Determine the size that you require; two, 2.5, three and four and then the style; high back, slought, deep, narrow, upholstered, Chesterfield, scroll arm, square arm, and sprung back. There is then a huge selection of fabrics including stain resistant and patterned iterations in stripe, checks, floral with Victorian or contemporary styles.
Price: From £895
Not your typical sofa company, Swyft turns the traditional model on its head – and sticks it in a box, ready for delivery. The brand is one of the UK’s emerging sofa-in-a-box companies which makes it easier than ever to move house, particularly if there are awkward stairs and hallways to navigate.
Boxed it may be, but that doesn’t lessen the quality. There are four models available – all with a premium constructions. The frame is made from FSC certified hardwood, while the fabrics are stain-free and with a rub count of 100,000 for improved durability. The cushions have a foam filling and the legs are also made from solid wood.
Model 00 – a footstool comes in linen or velvet and in four hues. Model 01 is an armchair, two or three seater settee with a classic boxy design. Model 02 has mid-century look with piped detailing, an upholstered seat cushion and cylindrical pillows. Model 03 is a modular design with the option of a chaise and Model 04 is a sofa bed with upholstered back cushions. All the designs require building on arrival but it is a super simple turn or slot-in construction. No toolbox required.
Swyft offers free 24 hour delivery if you order by 3pm or you can choose a designated arrival time up to three weeks in advance. The brand is so sure that you’ll love your new furniture that there’s a 100-day free trial and a 15 year guarantee on the frame. Swatches are also available.
Price: From £499
With over 10 years of experience under its belt, Sofa.com is a household name not least for its nailing of the URL. The online retailer offers not only sofas but beds too with expertly crafted models that nod to the latest interior trends.
There are hundreds of designs to choose from so whether you are looking for something to tie the whole room together or a statement piece to add intrigue, this is the place to come.
Go classic with a sophisticated leather settee that overhauls trends to transition from you current home to any future home. Alternatively, sumptuous velvet is also a good idea to bring elegance and glamour to your space. If you have a larger room, there are L-shaped and corner models to add more seating for all, while if you need something more compact, you can maximise the space with angled designs or love seats. Many of the designs are also available as sofa beds without sacrificing on comfort.
All the frames are crafted from solid beechwood and are guaranteed for life, while the fabrics are hard-wearing so will see you through the inevitable spillages and stains.
Price: From £159
Made cuts out the middleman to bring affordable but eternally chic interiors to your home at affordable and accessible price points. The retailer collaborates with independent designers to offer items that look and feel expensive. The pieces are exclusive with options to suit every design aesthetic – whether you are going for an Art Deco revival or super modern industrial-style pieces.
For the sofas, to say there are plenty of options feels like an understatement. If you’re hoping to narrow it down by colour, Made covers the entire spectrum with some of our favourites in forest green, mustard and teal. Material-wise, velvet is luxe but there’s also linen, leather, cotton, corduroy and a cosy boucle that looks and feels as soft as cloud.
For all spaces, the brand has chaise longues, corner sofas, sofa beds, love seats, modular designs and ones that give us retro futon vibes.
Pay attention to delivery times as certain models may take much longer than others.
Price: From £595
Almost synonymous with unique interiors, when you head to Andrew Martin, it’s because you are tired with the sameness of the sofa selection and are looking for something out of the box.
The brand sets trends instead of following them and is known for shining a light on different cultures and the wonders of travel through the charming prints, patterns and furnishings.
The same is true of the stylish settees. While you will find seating in classic shapes and fabrics, there is always a little twist to up the comfort and design specs. Just look at the Armstrong Union Jack sofa that while offered in a sophisticated leather will bring an interesting detail with the flag adorned backrest. There’s also a huge amount of custom made models so you can set the style to your exact requirements.
Price: From £976
Timothy Oulton’s Sofa Workshop is all about heightening the everyday experience of sitting on the sofa. These are cosy seating options that will encourage you to get the whole family over to relax, not just to enjoy their company but also so they can marvel at the interesting prints and designs.
Our favourites include the Bubble Sofa with a curvaceous silhouette that closely resembles Dali’s Mae West Lips Sofa that you can sink into after a long day at the office or the Blake Sofa that has a classic box-silhouette that you can adorn with intricate, eye-popping patterns to make them anything but ordinary.
Maker & Son
Price: From £3,740
Founded by Alex Wilcock and his son, Felix Conran (grandson of Sir Terence), Maker & Son’s Song range was awarded ‘The Most Comfortable Sofa in the World’. Quite the feat, this is a testament to the brand that pays the utmost attention to every aspect of the construction process.
The sofas are handmade using sustainably-sourced fabrics and natural materials. The frames are constructed from hardwood, while the fabrics are varied and you can request a sample so you take the guesswork out of the selection process.
Begin by choosing out of the three core collections; Marnie with a piped edge, Song with a pillow edge or Otter that can either have a box edge or soft edge. Then you choose whether you want a classic loveseat, chaise, two, three, four or corner sofa. This all determines the starting price. Further personalisation options include right or left hand for the corner models, the size of the pillows, choosing between linen, corduroy, cotton, velvet or brushed cotton and finally the colour to which they have a more neutral, natural palette with tones of grey, green, blue and a pop of pink.
They may be on the more expensive end of the spectrum but if you believe that you can’t put a price on comfort, you’ve come to the right place.
Price: From £1,129
Dating back to 1810, Heal’s prides itself of being at the forefront of design and brings together some of the most renowned designers around the world under one convenient roof with brands like Ligne Roset, Vitra, Timothy Oulton as well as its own-brand label.
The retailer has corner sofas, sofa beds, leather sofas and footstools with a focus on quality and durability. Whether you are going for a contemporary look or a more classic aesthetic, there are mid-century and modern shapes in fabrics like velvet, cotton, and of course, leather.
If you can’t find what you are looking for from the extensive selection of two, three, four and corner sofas offered, try the ‘Designed by You’ range where you can mix and match with over 580 combinations to completely personalise your product. This lets you change up the legs, arms, cushions and more.
The settees are made in the UK – the majority of which are handcrafted – and the birch and beechwood frames have a lifetime guarantee.
The Conran Shop
Price: From £1,071
When he founded the Conran Design Group in 1956, the late Sir Terence Conran changed up the furniture game and ever since his namesake brick-and-mortar and now online store The Conran Shop has set the pace for covetable pieces given the seal of approval by the fashion set.
The retailer offers a curated selection of products from renowned designers who make exclusive pieces for the brand and instantly elevate any space in which they are situated.
Knowing the importance of a sofa as the centrepoint to your living home, a huge emphasis is placed on how they look with cowhide and sleek designs but comfort is taken into consideration too. In leather, velvet and wool as well as in armchair, reclining, two, three and four seater form, you’ll be sure to find something with a suitable level of drama for your home.
Browse through the selection as we have a feeling you’ll want to add more than just one to your virtual basket.
Price: From £819
Feel at home with Snug that as the name suggests will help you feel cosy throughout your sofa days and binge-watching sessions.
The sofas are crafted from high quality materials and are delivered in a box – but you’d never know. While self-assembly is crucial, it tends to be super simple and can be done in minutes as you don’t even need any tools. The settees themselves are modular and so are super adaptable and versatile with traditional two or three seats as well as 1.5 snugglers, corner sofas and sofa beds.
There are three key models that are slightly different in design; the rebel, the big chill and the cloud sundae. The colour range is not the most extensive compared to the other brands above but there’s still a good range; blue, blush, green, grey, taupe, teal and turmeric.
Make the most of the brand’s free fabric samples to make sure you are choosing the right one.
- 1 Love Your Home
- 2 Swoon Editions
- 3 Darlings of Chelsea
- 4 Sofology
- 5 Loaf
- 6 Sofas & Stuff
- 7 Swyft
- 8 Sofa.com
- 9 MADE
- 10 Andrew Martin
- 11 Sofa Workshop
- 12 Maker & Son
- 13 Heal’s
- 14 The Conran Shop
- 15 Snug